Lisa’s Story, The Cure for Insomnia

As an avid reader, I do kind of like this strip, just because I like bookstores and seeing people read. I would really like to know what they’re reading, though. It’s extra funny if you assume they’re reading part of Lisa’s Story and that’s why they fell asleep. I would like to know what time of day it’s supposed to be, because if it’s first thing in the morning and they’re already passing out, that’s very different then if it’s night time.
I do like Funky’s expression in the third panel-“Yeah, that’s right, I have a credit/debit card! Aren’t I awesome?”.
I am very tired of these little crossovers. It’s funny how after years of these strips somehow being ten years apart and taking place in the present day at the same time, he’s just given up on it making any kind of sense. I won’t be surprised at all if somehow Sunday’s Crankshaft involves the title character and the annoying newspaperman being waited on in Montoni’s by Adeela.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Lisa’s Story, The Cure for Insomnia

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This one is pretty harmless (and dialog free!) but panel three is a little trippy. Funky appears to be handing his mother-in-law a credit card with a strange look of superiority on his face, while she’s all sheepish looking for some reason. I’m not sure how to interpret it, exactly, but diving too deeply into the Winkerbean family dynamic isn’t going to benefit anyone.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think he’s at Lillian’s attic bookstore. (Another nonagenarian in the FW universe with a thriving business). And what’s being highlighted here is the current-as-of-five-years-ago Square card reader technology, now superseded by smart chip readers and contactless smartphone wallet readers.

      And where did the masks go? All week everyone at the hospital was masked.

      • Epicus Doomus

        My mistake, I got two of his obscure elderly characters mixed up. Now I get it. Sigh. I never read (or even glance at) “Crankshaft”, so the characters are all foreign to me.

        So the moral here is that reading is boring? There’s an interesting take. Sigh.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s harmless by itself. It’s the overall context that’s the problem.

      Once again, excessive attention is being drawn to a man performing a minimal courtesy for his injured wife. Which must be performed exactly as Tom Batiuk dictates: with no Internet and no big-box stores. (He resisted the temptation to have Funky buy comic books at Komix Korner, I’ll give him that.) Funky’s being sweet today after he was a jerk all week.

      The context problems extend to the art and writing. Batiuk had to force in a crossover when there is almost certainly a more convenient place for Funky to buy books. He ignores the ten-year time difference yet again. Lillian is a detestable character, but she’s drawn like a guest to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. We still don’t know the nature of Holly’s injury. The strip continues to wax and wane between acknowledging and ignoring COVID precaution.

      Today’s strip should be nice. It’s a basic, wordless story with a sweet sentiment at its core. But it’s so buried under Tom Batiuk’s sloppiness and solipsism that I can’t enjoy it.

  2. “Good lord, Lisa’s Story is the dullest book ever written!”
    “You think that’s bad, The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol 10 is a guaranteed sleep aid! Why

    did you buy these books?”
    “Les. I had to, because of Les. Don’t…hate me. We all…we have to do it.”

    Note: written before the post, but what the hell, right?

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    Today’s strip skipped the panel to Holly wordlessly giving Funky a handjob. But it sure implied it loudly enough.

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    So, I assume that if this strip lasts long enough to show us Mopey Pete and Min-dull’s wedding, there’ll be two Ed Crankshafts sitting in the pews: the hale and hearty one who survived COVID and the oxygen-huffing, wheelchair-bound nursing home resident? Funny thing is, Battyuk probably blew a gasket when a 1967 issue of The Flash suggested that a supernatural “Heavenly Help-Mate” named Mopee was responsible for Barry Allen getting his speed powers, not just a lightning strike and dousing with chemicals.

    And yes, of course Funky had to drive to Lillian the Lizard’s bookstore in Centerville to purchase reading material, because there can’t possibly be one in Westview. These two cities must be closer than Gotham and Metropolis in the DCEU. Also, notice how in Panel Two he’s judging books by their covers.

    Personally, I like to imagine there’s a missing panel between Five and Six where Holly tries to sit up on the sofa, her nose up in the air, and says to her dutiful spouse, ” Did you leave the gas open on the stove after you made me this cup of tea?”

    Can’t wait to see what fresh hell awaits us on Monday.

  5. ComicBookHarriet

    I will defend today’s strip as the best we’ve gotten this whole year.

    It actually gave me a moment of nostalgia for when I used to live at home. I would come home late at night from a gas station job and my dad would be sound asleep on the couch, always with a book splayed across his chest.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It’s definitely near the top of my list. I kind of liked it.

      But my comment will still be downvoted.

    • bobanero

      The strip would be better without the Crankshaft crossover, though. Not only does it completely shatter the timeline (such as it is), but Lillian is overall a despicable character, and the implausibility of someone of her advanced age conceiving, building, stocking, and running a book store in her attic (with the help of two bafflingly ignorant pre-teens) and on top of that churning out a series of moderately successful murder mysteries really gnaws at me.

      • gleeb

        It underscores how completely dead business is in the town of Cancerdeathville under the leadership of Mr Chamber Commerce, F. Winkerbean.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          And their one armed journalist blames a greedy hedge fund for ruining their local newspaper. To quote Curley Howard: Is everybody dumb?

      • Mr. A

        I can accept that Lillian just aged a lot better over the last ten years than Ed Crankshaft did, but writing a series of novels while simultaneously owning and running a small business sounds exhausting at any age.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I agree that it’s implausible. But I still love the idea of novelist Lillian because she’s produced way more published books than Les. It’s like Batiuk didn’t realize he was dissing his author avatar.

        • The Duck of Death

          She’s a piker compared to Mr Harry “I’m in my 80s(?) and retired, yet I hold down 5 or 6 demanding jobs” Dinkle.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I agree. Lillian was originally portrayed as the irascible often put upon next door neighbor of Crankshaft. I always thought that was a good enough role for her.

        Over the years Lillian developed a much more prominent role. She has been the featured character in several story arcs, i.e. the Alzheimer’s story arc with Lucy.

        A couple of years ago in Crankshaft Lillian appeared to be taking over the strip. A few times during the year a full month would go by without an appearance from the titular character. Is there anything more boring in comics than a story arc featuring Lillian at a book signing? I can only assume Batiuk wanted to feature another writer avatar character. Lillian and Les Moore discussing writing. Whee! What fun! 🙄

        The Lillian versus modern technology story arcs are overdone as well. Can’t Crankshaft be used in those instead of Lillian?

        Now Lillian is encroaching on Funky Winkerbean territory. Why not use one of the many FW characters we haven’t seen in years/months?

        It’s like Batty is force feeding us the character.

        Batty: You WILL like this character!
        Me: No. Not even if it meant world peace.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Why do I hate Lillian? Let me count the ways.

          1. She concealed a desired marriage proposal from her sister for no reason other than spite, causing her to have a mental breakdown;

          I mean, sheesh, do I need any more reasons that that? That’s one of the most despicable acts I’ve ever seen depicted in fiction.

          2. She tried to assuage her guilt through the empty gesture of taking the intercepted letter to its intended location, long after both parties were dead;

          3. She uses unpaid child labor in her unlicensed book store;

          4. Other book stores in town have been shown going out of business;

          5. At her book signings, she’s rude and condescending to her fans;

          6; The fact that she has fans at all, because she’s yet no-talent Mary Sue character Tom Batiuk can use to throw awards and recognition at himself. Hell, even the title Murder At The Bookstore sounds like it’s trying to be lame;

          7. She’s friends with Ed Crankshaft, and Ed Crankshaft is just the worst;

          8. All the stuff you said; and;

          9. All of this is portrayed positively.

          • The Duck of Death

            💯 on all of that.

            But a little while ago, I reread the arc where Lillian’s sister Lucy died, and I was left very confused on points #1 and #2. Lucy is seen getting flowers delivered to her room. She says her old love from the 1940s, Eugene, is sending them. Lillian takes this as further evidence that Lucy’s losing her mental faculties. After Lucy dies, though (March 11-14, 2009), we see a very old man who is clearly Eugene, sadly looking at the broken-down wreck of the dance hall where he would have met Lucy if he’d ever heard back from her. And Lillian sees a card on the flowers, clearly signed “Eugene.” So Eugene was obviously alive, and still pining for Lucy, and sending her flowers and candy on the regular. He knew where she’d been all along. Why didn’t he contact her in the intervening 65 years? This unresolved question changes what could have been a moving arc into an irritating mystery. And although Lillian is clearly an awful person, she eventually felt guilty and repented. I’d say a lot of the fault here lies with Eugene, who never could screw up the courage to even send another letter in all that time.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            100 emoji right back at ya, DoD. You’re absolutely right that Lillian’s actions should not have permanently separated two people who wanted to be together. But in analyzing this, we can only go by what the story tells us, which is that Lillian’s actions destroyed this relationship.

            And no one ever called her out on it. No one ever suggested she should have done the right thing. No one lost any esteem for her. Nobody forced her to face her shameful deed. She was allowed to indulge herself with the Funkyverse’s traditional cleansing ritual: empty, performative grief. With a side order of resolving everything off-panel.

          • be ware of eve hill

            I’ll agree that Lillian’s decision to withhold Eugene’s letter was a despicable act.

            I hold Batty equally in contempt because the whole scenario is romantic… but stupid.

            It was rather stupid for
            Eugene to leave the possibility of marriage up to a single communique. He was going overseas. What if he forgot to put a stamp on the envelope? What if the letter got lost? What if some asshole intercepted the letter and withheld it from the recipient?

            If he was going to give up that easily maybe he should have just left it up to an old-fashioned query of a Magic 8 Ball.
            Euguene: Magic 8 Ball, should I propose to Lucy McKenzie?
            Magic 8 Ball: Reply hazy. Ask again later.
            Euguene: Bummer. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

            What was Lucy’s role in the relationship? She didn’t hear from Eugene so she simply assumed he didn’t care and gave up? Oh well, better to be miserable for the rest of my life than bother finding out.

            Eugene and Lucy got what they deserved because they were passive idiots.

            I really got acquainted with my husband-to-be at his sister’s funeral of all places. I thought we hit it off well. Back in those days the gals rarely asked out the guys but I gave him a call later anyway. He said he was thinking of asking me out but had convinced himself that I was just being kind. If I didn’t call we never would have dated.

            We’ve been married for 35 years.

  6. Sourbelly

    A joke about old people falling asleep. That’s cool. At least Funky did a nice thing. I’ll save my vitriol for whatever comes next.

  7. Hitorque

    So Holly only suffered a sprain? I thought there was a distinct “CRACK” sound?

  8. sgtsaunders

    I thought Lisa’s Story was a comic book.

    • batgirl

      Only in our world. In the Funkyverse it’s a real books with words and everything, that somehow never goes out of print and is perpetually on a reading tour.
      The continual meet-the-author episodes would kind of make sense at present with a rerelease for the movie – but nobody ever asks questions about the movie and what Les thinks of the casting etc. It’s always just respectful silence while the Author Speaks, except for got-the-reference woman.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It was a comic book! Darrin and the Atomick Komix losers made a graphic novel version of Lisa’s Story, which got nominated for an Eisner award.

      You know, because Tom Batiuk doesn’t inject himself into the story or anything like that.

      • The Duck of Death

        Oh no, he wouldn’t do that any more. BTW, when he says injecting himself into the strip is “breaking the fourth wall,” he’s misusing the phrase. It actually means to involve the audience in the proceedings, not the author. Grandpa Google, or just Webster’s good ol’ print dictionary, would be a big help if TB wants to use idiomatic phrases correctly. But as always, I guess he figures there’s no need to check definitions, because The Lord of Language is by definition the master of all idioms.

      • Mr. A

        Sorry for the late comment, but: it’s never been clear to me when, if, or how the original Lisa’s Story “became” a graphic novel.

        The sequel, The Last Leaf, was planned as a graphic novel from its inception (2014-10-13 strip), with Darin as the artist (2014-10-14 strip). It was well after that point that Darin gave Les the idea for a prequel (twice), so it makes sense that Prelude is also in a graphic novel format.

        When we roll around to September 2017, Les is going on a book tour for the “Lisa’s Legacy Trilogy”, but there’s no direct indication that the original Lisa’s Story has been altered. It’s not until July 2018 that the Trilogy, as a whole, is nominated for an Eisner. If Lisa’s Story got reworked as a graphic novel, when did Darin work on it? If Batiuk retconned it so that the book has always been a graphic novel…same question.

        • Suicide Squirrel

          Sorry, I can’t answer your question. I think at this point in Batyuk’s career, attempting to establish clarity in Funky Winkerbean is futile. I think the best you can do is search the SOSF archives, and it appears that is what you have already done.

          The dialog in one of your linked comics is interesting. In your second-to-last linked comic “Lisa’s Legacy Trilogy”, Les is talking to Lillian at a book signing. In the first panel, Lillian says, “Do you remember me? I used to have a bookstore over my garage…”

          Lillian USED to have a bookstore over her garage? According to Sunday’s FW, Lillian STILL has a bookstore over her garage.

          I think the above highlights the fact that Batyuk doesn’t keep notes.
          Batyuk: “I’m just makin’ it up as I go along because I’m a storyteller.”

  9. The Duck of Death

    For once, I’m snarkless. No dialogue means no passive-aggressive digs followed by smirks (though we do have plenty of smirks), so not much snark-fodder.

    Oh, except for one thing: We know that Holly’s injury wasn’t a simple broken bone, or it would have been set without needing to rush her into surgery immediately. So… a compound fracture, maybe? Anyway, whatever it was, she needed surgery right away. So some major orthopedic trauma was involved, and likely some titanium screws were inserted into bone. Given that, her limb should be elevated over her heart. And she should be zonked out on Vicodin or something similar. Since her leg isn’t elevated and she isn’t too stoned to read, and she isn’t screaming in pain because of those two things, but she was hustled into surgery immediately, I’m at a loss to figure out what actually happened to her leg. Is there an orthopod in the house?

  10. The Duck of Death

    Thank goodness I got a downvote on my comment above! I feel slighted if everyone else gets one and I don’t.

    I suspect I know who the downvoter is (assuming it’s not Tom B. himself). It’s probably a guy, whom I won’t name, who occasionally appears in the CK comments for FW or Crankshaft to lamely insult the snarkers. He showed up suddenly yesterday. When asked to defend the strip or rebut the criticism, he vanishes like the mist in the morning.

    Not trying to toot my own horn here, but my comment yesterday cordially inviting a stinging rebuttal got FOUR downvotes. That might be a record! Clearly, the idea of actually having to defend FW really rustles someone’s jimmies.

    I’ve mentioned it before, and so have others, but I want to get this in print again where I know Mr and/or Ms Downvoter (talking to you, KJ) will see it: At least a dozen times, both here and on CK, I have cordially and politely invited people to defend the strip and/or rebut the comments of snarkers. I’m not insulting anyone and I’m genuinely interested in what defenders would have to say. Never once has anyone ever stepped up to answer me.

    #SAD. KJ and/or TB, or whoever you are: The ball is in your court. If you have nothing to say, I’ll assume you’re admitting the strip is indefensible.

    • The Duck of Death


    • Epicus Doomus

      Those who frequent the CK site are free to do whatever they like there. Not here, though. We have a few basic and rarely-enforced standards here and if people don’t like it they can post elsewhere. The personal battles and hostile back and forth stuff belongs there, not here.

      Dissenting opinions are welcome, however it very, very rarely ever comes up. If a sincere and genuine FW fan decides to comment here, great. If it’s just shtick though, not so much.

      • The Duck of Death

        Sorry if I was overstepping the bounds here, Epicus. There’s no feud between me and the CK commenter, who only shows up a couple times a year. There can’t even be a feud, because he shows up only a couple times a year, drops a generic insult aimed at all and sundry, and then isn’t seen again. And maybe it’s not the same person at all. But I’ll leave it at that. I know now that whoever’s downvoting us here just doesn’t want to engage. Probably doing us all a favor.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Not at all, Duck, no worries. Anyone is free to downvote if they like, it’s just there for fun and has no other purpose. If it makes someone feel better then that’s cool. Seems pointless to me, but I’m a daily FW reader, so what do I know?

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Good Ol Kenneth Jeffus. Maybe an old KSU buddy of Batty’s?

    • Y. Knott

      I don’t even see an upvote/downvote icon, so whoever is downvoting you is going to some lengths to do so!

      I do have a question about something that comes up on this site from time to time. It seems to be a given that SoSF commenters are expecting (Hoping for? Desperately praying for?) Tom Batiuk to retire on the strip’s 50th anniversary. Is this just a site-specific schtick, or is there something Batiuk said (perhaps in an interview) that has led to this expectation?

      • Epicus Doomus

        March 27, 2022 is the 50th anniversary strip. Personally, I feel he’ll keep it going as long as he’s able. I wouldn’t be surprised to see FW go for another ten years. One day we’ll look back on the 2021 strips and marvel over how action-packed and exciting they were in comparison to the 2030 ones, as by that point it’ll all just be dialog-free panels featuring the characters smirking for no reason.

      • none

        I thought there was some interview recently (relatively speaking, within the last few years or so) where he basically said that he has no intent of retiring any time soon and was no more specific than that.

        No, I think that like others such as Hart, Bolle, and Lazarus, he’s only going to leave when death itself pulls him away from the board.

        Honestly, why would he retire. Look at what this strip is now and how he’s still getting paid to do it.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The 50th anniversary is less than 11 months from now, so if Batiuk was going to hang it up then we’d have heard by now. And he announced on his blog in June 2021 a new story at the Palm Restaurant in NYC. This is almost certainly another comic book publishing story.

  11. Y. Knott

    Well, it makes sense that he’d keep going. I imagine that it might take an afternoon to come up with a week’s worth of strips, which he can then just dictate or telegraph or whatever to the illustrators. (I assume e-mail, let alone a Zoom call, is *way* too 21st century for him.) That’d be too sweet a gig to just up and quit on.

    And come to think of it, I guess he couldn’t write off his trips to Hollywood if he weren’t, ahem, *extensively* researching the faultless geographic detailing and up-to-the-minute industry-specific slang his readers have come to expect!